The potential punishment for an av melacha on Shabbos is stoning (ch"v). (Obviously, only under certain circumstances and after repeated attempts to dissuade the sinner.) However, I learned here that the potential punishment for doing an [av] melacha on Yom Kippur is only kareit. Kareit is the fifth of Rambam's eight levels of punishment, whereas death by stoning is the first. This is a big difference in strictness.

I understand that in practice in modern times, this doesn't change anything. However, if Yom Kippur is the Shabbas Shabbason and overrides Shabbat in almost every other way(1), why would the punishment for melacha on Yom Kippur be so much less severe?

Related: Melachas on Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur falling out on Shabbos


  1. Lopatin, Rabbi Asher. "Celebrating a Conflicted Relationship with God." In Naming God: Avinu Malkeinu— Our Father, Our King, edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, 231-35. Prayers of Awe. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2015.
  • 1
    Given that you are discussing the bibles punishment, consider clarifying whether any biblical shabbat laws are overridden by yom Kippur.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 6:48
  • Consider clarifying then that the relevance of shabbat shabbat is only according to some of the views you link to.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 6:55
  • "This is a big difference in strictness." Meh. You have no reason to think that the 8 levels are equally far apart. They are approximately the same level strictness.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 13:45
  • "overrides Shabbat in almost every other way" I haven't seen your source but this seems preposterous to me. Shabbat isn't overridden in any way that I can think of. It's fully completely Shabbat.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 13:47
  • 1
    I learned this in Yeshivah (no specific sources) : Shabbos is the holiest day of the year even over Yom Kippur. Its just that people think of YK as "holiest" because it happens just once per year where shabbos occurs 52 times. So what happens often seems less special. In this case, its not so. Yom Kippur is called shabbos shabbaton, because there are 6 yom tov days in the Jewish year where y0u may cook and carry. YK is the 7th yom tov where you cannot even cook or carry so its called by the Torah the "shabbos" of the shabbatons = the 7th day sabbath of the 6 days of yom tov. Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 9:54

2 Answers 2


The Gemara in Megila 22b inform us:

נקוט האי כללא בידך כל דטפי ליה מילתא מחבריה טפי ליה גברא יתירא הלכך בר''ח ומועד דאיכא קרבן מוסף קורין ארבעה ביו''ט דאסור בעשיית מלאכה חמשה ביוה''כ דענוש כרת ששה שבת דאיכא איסור סקילה שבעה‏

In English:

The holier (Lit. better) a day, the more people get called up to the Torah. Therefore, on Rosh Chodesh and Chol HaMoed where there's a Mussaf sacrifice, we call up 4. On Yom Tov when work is forbidden, we call up 5. On Yom Kippur 6, because its punishment is Karet. On Shabbat, since its punishment is stoning, we call up 7.

So we see that Shabbat is considered superior to Yom Kippur according to the Gemara. Your question is used as a proof of this.

  • 1
    "The holier (Lit. better) a day": I don't see that in the text. I see "take this [mnemonic] rule in your hand. Whatever has a thing additional to what its friend [has], it has an additional man." Seems completely unrelated to holiness/quality/superiority and thus to the OP's question.
    – msh210
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 6:41

Another proof of the increased holiness is that the date of Yom Kippur is decided by B'nai Yisra'el. See Gemarah Rosh Hashanna that explains part of the Lo Adu Rosh rule (Rosh Hashanna cannot occur on Mon., Wed. or Fri. Preventing it from being on Wed. or Friday is so that Yom Kippur won't be on Friday or Sunday creating various food / vegetable preservation problems as well as possible problems with burying a dead person.)

Also, the end of the bracha in the Amidah when Yom Kippur is on Shabbat is מקדש השבת וישראל ויום הכפורים. Note that Shabbat is mentioned first because G-d sanctifies Shabbat. It is always on the seventh day of the week, and no man can change that date. (Shabbat is considered a holiday, BTW.) However, Bnei Yisra'el sanctifies Yom Kippur, as I just explained. Its date can be moved by rearranging the calendar.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .